Sunday 8 March 2015

Sunday, March 08, 2015 Posted by Jake No comments Labels: , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Jake on Sunday, March 08, 2015 with No comments | Labels: , , , , , , , ,

It is not just money the poorest get the least of. It is also life itself. Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show life expectancy drops dramatically in areas of greater deprivation. Perhaps that's not news for many of you.

However, even more dramatic is the drop in the number of healthy years people in the lower deciles of deprivation can expect. (The ONS measures "Healthy Life Expectancy" as the number of healthy years you expect to have over the course of your life, the rest presumably being not healthy).

A male child born between 2011 and 2013 from the top (least deprived) decile can expect:

a) to live 9 years longer than a child from the bottom (most deprived) decile  

b) to have an extra 18 years of good health than a child from the bottom (most deprived) decile
Figures for female children born in 2011-2013 show a smaller gap in Life Expectancy, but a slightly larger gap in Healthy Life Expectancy.

Doubtless there are many factors involved in the loss of 'healthy years' by those suffering greater deprivation. Many of the "Elementary Occupations" are harder and more hazardous on the body than a career behind a desk wielding a mouse. These Elementary Occupations include:
MPs bleating for more pay claiming they sacrifice their lives for their jobs maintain a stubborn shameless ignorance of those who quite literally sacrifice years of their lives and more years of their health. MPs will still be collecting their parliamentary pay, pension and perks for years while many of their contemporaries in the bottom decile are getting flowers in hospital, or pushing them up in a cemetery.

Cheaper foods, affordable to those from the lower deciles of deprivation, are often more unhealthy. 'Lean' minced meat generally has much less gristle and fat than the cheaper stuff. European regulations define the qualities of mince:

As usual, the UK government courageously caved into the food industry lobby to open up a loophole to allow worse stuff to be sold in the UK:

  • allow lower quality "cuts of meat in minced meat that may otherwise have been discarded" 
  • allow "minced meat to be placed on the market with an excess of thirty percent fat for minced pork or, in the case of minced beef, over twenty percent fat."
The reality is even when austerity cuts are imposed equally on all, they do not impact all equally. Evident from the graphs above, those in the lower deprivation deciles will be hit more by ongoing cuts to healthcare.
The graph above shows the levels of deprivation in the various regions of England. (An "LSOA" is a small area, like a town, within a region - click here if you are interested to know more). A National Audit Office report on healthcare funding in England showed many deprived areas getting much less money than they should based on the government's own formula for target funding:

A child born between 2011-2013 in the lowest decile can expect a gob-smacking 18 fewer healthy years in its lifetime than its contemporary born in the top decile. This situation has developed over decades of successive governments of all complexions. 

Ultimately, political parties seeking election don't act in your interests but in their own interests. If they think they can get your vote, or at least you won't vote against them, for nothing then they will give nothing. 

For political parties to work in their own interests by working for your interests, make sure you vote for whoever will serve you best. If that means none of them, then go to the polling station and spoil your ballot (it will still be counted).


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